Host City: Sochi, Russia
Date Started: February 13, 2014
Date Finished: February 15, 2014
Participants: 47 (27 men and 20 women) from 17 countries
Youngest Participant: Nikita Tregubov (19 years, 1 days)
Oldest Participant: Kristan Bromley (41 years, 344 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 6 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): United States and Russia (2 medals)
The skeleton events of the 2014 Winter Olympics were held at the [Sanki Sliding Centre] in Rzhanaya Polyana which is approximately 60 km (37 miles) northeast of the host city of Sochi. The track, which was due to be built even if Sochi's Olympic bid had been unsuccessful, was opened in 2012 and hosted its first major event, the finale of the 2012-13 World Cup series in February 2013. For both bobsleigh and skeleton the track was configured to measure 1365 metres with 19 curves and an average drop of 9.3%. The track was unusual in that it had three uphill sections and was considered more technically challenging than the tracks used at the previous two Olympic Winter Games although top speeds still reached 130 km/h or 80 mp/h.
The general consensus before the Games was that both the men's and women's events would develop into head-to-head battles for the gold medals between two clear favourites. In the men's event [Martins Dukurs] of Latvia was slightly favoured over Russia's [Aleksandr Tretyakov] whilst in the women's race American [Noelle Pikus-Pace] and [Lizzy Yarnold] of Great Britain appeared to be evenly matched.
As it transpired home advantage was used to good effect by Tretyakov who emerged as the winner by a comfortable margin. He posted the fastest time in 3 of the 4 runs and finished .8 of a second ahead of his Latvian rival with the rest of the field, led by American [Matt Antoine] trailing distantly in their wake. [Lizzy Yarnold] was an even more emphatic winner in the women's event and only narrowly failed to finish a full second ahead of Pikus-Pace.
The Russian skeleton programme was galvanised by hosting the Games and, after being bit part players for most of the sport's history, all six of their team posted top six finishes. In contrast Germany, one of the traditional powerhouses of the sport, struggled to even post top 10 finishes.